We Are All Connected
It's the first week of school -- the perfect time to start building the classroom culture that you want.
First off, I saw this tweet and totally LOVED the idea of connecting all of my students somehow. So HUGE S/O to Michelle (@Michelle4EDU) for the idea!
As I enter my first year of teaching, I wanted to spend the first week(s) of school being intentional about building community and trust. During preservice, my principal said something that really got me thinking. He said, "Our students are most worried about where they fit in and who cares about them."
I knew that I wanted to start building that sense of belonging and connecting in the first week.
Today, we did an activity I've labeled as "We are all connected." It was about creating "connections" (AKA matching interests between students) in our classroom and the other students who visit my room during the day.
[Disclaimer: I'm probably making this sound way more polished and like it went a lot smoother than it actually did.]
Here's how our day went:
To start our day (for our warm-up) I had students answer 10 questions about their "Favorite Things" (cue Oprah).
We started at our tables (groups of 3-4) and tried to find a common connection there (our essential question for the day was "How do I fit into our community?"). I explained that we wanted to find things we shared in common with the people we are sitting with.
After a couple of minutes, and after students started looking around the room, I challenged my students to get up and walk around to find other connections throughout our classroom.
After a few more minutes, I started asking the pairs of students closest to the whiteboard if they wanted to add their notecards to the board. I explained that after they found a spot to tape their card, they had to make a connection with another notecard -- that was already taped -- and draw a line to connect them. Then they had to label their line with what the connection was.
After all of the notecards were taped and connected we read Edward the Emu. We discussed why it is important to stay true to yourself but that you can still belong even if you are a little bit different, or have your own unique favorite things.
Overall, I hope my students feel more connected and part of our 405 community (the "405 squad"). We have the rest of the school year to build on the foundation that we are building during these first few days of school!
Happy new school year! And good luck to all my fellow first year teachers!
"You can't teach them until you reach them."